Billy Graham died. It’s not really a surprise. He was ninety nine and had a good innings. There has been a lot of chunnering on Twitter about his legacy and his attitude to the LGBT community and his closeness to Richard Nixon. I would just say that it was a different time and I wonder if all the people who are so cool about LGBT issues now would have behaved the same fifty years ago. Also, I don’t think he would have ever claimed to be anything other than a man with feet of clay. I know he preached on all the continents to countless people but he never came across as a glory hunter – not for himself anyway. And he converted the Queen. I saw it on the Crown, which is, of course the complete truth and, in fact, a documentary.
Aged Parent (Male version) saw him preach once. He said it was the first time he had seen a literal “Bible Basher” and he said he was captivating. It was also one of the simplest gospel message he had ever seen – stuck really close to the Bible and also one of the most effective.
Aged Parent (Female Version) went for a job at one of his crusades in the fifties. I don’t know if I mentioned it but Aged Parent Male Version became a Christian long before Aged Parent Female Version. This meant that they were indubitably “Unequally Yoked” as it used to be called. (On a slight aside most sympathies usually go to the Christian side of this partnership and t’aint necessarily so. Sometimes living with a Christian when you are not one yourself is quite the challenge thank-you) Anyway – Female AP was a good short-hand typist and applied for a job. She was very honest at the interview and explained that she wasn’t a Christian but her husband was and she had just come along because she expected him to be heavily involved in the crusade and she wanted to see a bit more of him. She was in competition with her friend who was a Christian and didn’t expect to get a look-in. She was amazed when she was offered the post. Looking back, I always thought this showed great wisdom – whether it was allowing her to be close to her religious manic husband or whether they thought they saw a spark of interest in Christianity. I remember reading once that, where he could Billy Graham set his team up with the wisest, most graceful people he could find and that was Aged Parent’s remembrance of it all. By the way, she never got to take the job, she discovered she was pregnant with me and had to give it up. She never got to spend that year surrounded by Christians and listening to the greatest gospel preacher of the age. I am a living hindrance to the work of the Lord.
There are thousands of us who are a testimony to Billy Graham’s legacy. My parents didn’t become Christians after listening to him but there was a culture abroad at the time that meant lots of people were seeking and he was partly responsible for that.
We have been dealing with Prescription-gate here today. Aged Parent has been given her prescription by a different doctor and it was hand written. So I received a phone call at lunch.
AP – Will it be ok to take this prescription in? It’s not like my normal one.
Me – It will be fine. What do you think might happen?
AP – They might think I have found it – or stolen it.
Me – Is there a strong black market in inhalers in Plymouth?
AP – You won’t be laughing when I get arrested and jailed.
(Writer allows herself brief moment of imagining the peace and quiet that might follow for a while should this unlikely event occur. Shakes head. Carries On.)